The latest Giving USA report came out this summer and you may have already seen the results. But if you look more closely at the data or read through the full report, you might actually hear some surprising information. Like the fact that some of your assumptions about fundraising are totally WRONG. Here’s a few:

People don’t donate as much to charity when there’s a political campaign going on.
This isn’t true. Giving USA has not found any decrease in charitable giving during the years of major presidential campaigns (or major mid-term’s, like right now). Donors seem to treat their political giving and charitable giving as two totally separate budgets. The only impact we have seen is a positive one: nonprofits linked to causes supported by the party that is NOT currently in power tend to see a big increase in donations after a big campaign.

If you want big money, you should write a grant.
Not really. Giving USA tells us year after year that 70% of all fundraising dollars come from individual donors. And given that half of foundations are family foundations, and bequests also come from relationships with individual donors, almost 9 out of every 10 gifts is a direct result of a personal relationship with an individual.

Corporate giving is on the rise thanks to Cause Related Marketing.
Cause Related Marketing IS on the rise, but that increases marketing – not charitable giving. Don’t count on corporations giving you cash because just you asked nicely. It’s crucial to remember that most corporations are looking for the best ways to improve their own bottom line. Corporate giving is still only 0.9% of pre-tax profits, so plug into their marketing budget instead.

Donor Advised Funds are more popular than Family Foundations for donors with big money. Not true. Giving USA actually finds that high net worth donors are a fan of both DAF’s and Family Foundations. Sometimes each member of the family has their own DAF where they can make their own giving decisions, and then they come together to decide who gets money from the foundation.

It’s harder to fundraise now than it was before.
No again. I’m definitely a “glass half full” kind of person, but Giving USA helps me to keep that optimistic attitude. Last year over $410 billion was donated to nonprofits in this country! We have more tools, more data, more options, and more manpower than ever. And despite how things might feel on a hard day, the numbers just keep going up.

I hope you have learned something you didn’t know, but hopefully you DO know that YOUR work makes a real difference in our world. I see how much you care, and it shows. Keep it up! And call me when you could use some extra help.